Top firms reduce pay for newly-qualified lawyers

A fifth of the top 50 law firms in the UK have dropped their salaries for newly-qualified lawyers, independent research by Lawyer 2B has revealed.

Clifford Chance, CMS Cameron McKenna, Eversheds, Hammonds, Lawrence Graham, Masons, Simmons & Simmons, SJ Berwin and Travers Smith Braithwaite have initiated cuts for their newly-qualifieds.

None of the firms surveyed by Lawyer 2B had increased salaries, with the majority leaving salaries fixed.

Masons instituted the biggest cuts, down to 43,000 from 47,000. The majority of the remainder instituted drops from 50,000 to 48,000.

The cuts come despite a modest pay increase for trainees generally. A review by the Law Society Council increased minimum salaries for trainee solicitors from 14,600 to 15,300 in central London and from 13,000 to 13,600 across England and Wales.

The Law Society Council has boosted its recommended minimum salary for trainees in central London from 15,600 to 16,200 and from 14,000 to 14,450 outside London.

Nadia Akhtar, chair of the Trainee Solicitors’ Group, said: “Trainee solicitors have to cope with decreasing spending power coupled with spiralling student debt so any increase is to be gratefully received. Although the increase is a modest one, it is certainly a step in the right direction.”

Newly-qualified salaries
Firm Old pay (K) New pay (K)
Firm Old pay (K) New pay (K)
Clifford Chance 50 48
CMS Cameron McKenna 50 48
Eversheds 48 46
Hammonds 47.5 46
Lawrence Graham 48 46
Masons 47 43
Simmons & Simmons 50 48
SJ Berwin 50 48
Travers Smith Braithwaite 50 48
Source: Lawyer 2B